Pineapple-Chile Glazed Chicken

pineapple-chile glazed chicken

We do a lot of chicken around Discovery Cooking, in part because there are just a lot of things you can do with  it and typically, they also tend to be easy and quick, if you’re in a hurry. This pineapple-chile glazed chicken is one of those quick and easy recipes, but the end result is something that really comes off as more than what it takes to make it.

The start of this recipe came from something I saw in a Bon Appetite magazine, probably more than a year ago, and with a bit of tweaking, became something amazing. A little cooked pineapple, some amazing serrano chile, some smoked paprika, a little bit of care and you’re there. And apart from waiting around for the chicken to bake for nearly an hour,  the actual preparation is about as easy as you can get.

I didn’t mess around much with the ingredients, so I can’t take much credit for this — other than I made it myself. But then, sometimes there really isn’t much you want to do with a really good recipe except maybe just enjoy it.

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Smoked Pork and Pineapple (“Swineapple”)

smoked pork and pineapple

There are occasions when someone or something brings something that’s so new (at least to you) that you just simply have to try it out. And that’s where this smoked pork and pineapple dish came from. My understanding of this dish is that it was “born” by a guy named Josh Bush, who isn’t a chef, but an apparently very good griller and smoker. Since then, of course, it’s now been posted and improvised and made into a dozen similar and different variations, so why  not? I think I’ll give it a try.

To start with, this recipe involves just three main components: Some pork (generally pork butt or something similar to that), a pineapple, and a bunch of bacon. What you do with the pork (and maybe the bacon) is what brings this thing to life and there is a long list of things that could work. In my case, I decided to use a bit of the barbecue sauce that my wife often uses for our pulled pork dish, smeared inside and out. After that, it’s mainly finding a great way to smoke the meat. I used an old fashioned barbecue bowl with smoke on one side and the meat on the other. Use what works for you and go as slowly as you can. I’ve actually seen these things smoked for up to five hours. Mine didn’t take quite so  long.

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Pineapple Chicken

pineapple chicken

In the summer, one of my favorite quick and easy meals involves marinating some chicken breast cubes and threading them onto skewers with onions, bell peppers and chunks of fresh pineapple to make pineapple chicken kabobs for the grill. I was craving that simple, flavorful dish recently, but alas, it’s February and we’ve been enduring the coldest days of the winter so far. Undeterred, I set out to do a winter version. The result was a pineapple chicken braise that brings together essentially the same flavors but in a warming, slow-cooked recipe ideal for a frigid evening.

The adaptation required rethinking the recipe a little. Chicken breasts were out. Slow cooking them in liquid would ruin them. So the first change was to use good ol’ chicken thighs, which love a braise. I also figured out pretty early on that just adding the pineapple to the braise would remove that charred, caramelized flavor that I love about pineapple on the grill. Caramelizing them in a separate step over fairly high heat did the trick — minus the grill marks. The ginger garlic and white wine I like to use for my marinade became a part of the cooking liquid.

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Salmon with Sweet Peppers and Pineapple

Salmon with Sweet Peppers and Pineapple

There are days when even the thought of making an elaborate meal (or cleaning up after one) is just too much. It was on such a day that I pulled together this salmon with sweet peppers and pineapple. It’s a quick, tasty lunch or light dinner that involves very little prep, a small number of ingredients and a single frying pan (and the oven, if you’re making the asparagus).

The idea for this “recipe” came, as these things often do, in the middle of a grocery store produce section, when I spotted some fresh whole pineapples. I’m a big fan of fresh pineapple and the rest of the household really likes grilled pineapple. In fact, when grilling season is in full swing, we generally have it a couple of time per week, just because. So as I stared at the pineapples, I started wondering if I could generate the same kind of enthusiasm if I sautéed the pineapple in a pan. Pretty soon, I was checking out the seafood department and spotted a beautiful wild-caught sockeye salmon filet. Sold. Back to produce for a green bell pepper (and some white asparagus) and I was in business.

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Pineapple Soup with Mint

pineapple soup

The inspiration for this soup came from Carol, who was served this at a retreat for an organization she’s involved with. She didn’t find out much about the dish, except that had a coconut milk base and, of course, pineapple and herbs. “It’s delicious, cool and refreshing,” was her comment. “We should try it.”

My first thought was that I had to use fresh pineapple and that only a hint of mint was needed. That turned out to be right on the mark, though I think may try some basil one of these days. Soon.

This soup only requires a few ingredients and it is quick and easy. Prep is simple, if a bit of a pain. (I hate straining things.)

Despite what you’re thinking, pineapple soup really is cool, refreshing and delicious. Within a week, we made it twice.

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